In Brief

Consumer price inflation picking up, data show Greek consumer price inflation is seen rising further in January to an annual pace of 2.7 percent as favorable base effects from oil wane, economists said yesterday. The median forecast of six economists surveyed by Reuters showed Greece’s headline CPI rate picking up further after a rise to 2.6 percent in December. The index dropped to a 41-year low of 0.5 percent in May and June. «CPI is expected to accelerate further on the back of an ongoing sharp reversal of base effects in energy prices, in conjunction with a rise in excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco and accelerated inflation in transportation,» said economist Nick Magginas at National Bank. On a monthly basis, inflation is seen falling 0.3 percent, mainly as a result of the winter sales.»The sales period starting in January will exercise downward pressure on inflation, on a monthly basis, as retailers cut prices in an effort to boost demand,» said Ilias Lekkos, an economist at Piraeus Bank. The National Statistics Service will release January headline inflation data today. (Reuters) Ocean Tankers refinances debt Ocean Tankers Holdings Plc, the first shipping company to list on the Cyprus Stock Exchange, said it has refinanced debt to help the company weather the global slowdown. Ocean Tankers signed a refinancing agreement with ABN Amro Bank SA in the Dutch lender’s capacity as agent for the Cypriot shipping company’s six other lenders, the Nicosia-based company said in a filing yesterday to the Cyprus exchange. The agreement includes the capitalization of loan installments for 2010 and up to April 30, 2011 that will be added to the loan when it expires on December 31, 2017, according to the statement. Interest accrued on the loan from January 1 to June 30 this year will also be capitalized and added to the loan when it finishes, the statement said. While not giving the size of the loan, Ocean Tankers said it will give further details of the deal when the company provides its 2009 results. (Bloomberg) Cyprus bank Latvia’s JSC LTB Bank, a wholly owned unit of Russia’s MDM Bank, is to open a branch in Cyprus, the island’s central bank said. JSC’s decision reflects Cyprus’s reputation as a reputable European financial center, the central bank said in a statement on its website. The Financial and Capital Market Commission of Latvia will continue to be responsible for supervising JSC, according to the statement. There are currently 35 foreign lenders from 14 countries, including Austria, Greece, France, Ireland, Russia, the UK and Ukraine, operating in Cyprus. (Bloomberg) Spanish reforms Spain’s Socialist government will stand by a plan to raise the retirement age despite a threat of union protests, Labor Minister Celestino Corbacho said in an interview published yesterday. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government is trying to cut a budget deficit which hit 11.4 percent of gross domestic product last year, and head off a crisis of confidence on financial markets which has already hit fellow eurozone members Greece and Portugal. (Reuters)

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